Sunday, January 28, 2018

How to clone your hard drive using free and simple open-source tools (w/any OS on your cloned drive!)


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By Gabriel Staples
Written: 28 Jan. 2018
Last Updated: 28 Jan. 2018

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I just upgrade my hard drive to an SSD (Solid State Drive). Now my computer runs soooo much faster! It's usable again! No matter what operating system you have, the following instructions will work, since we will simply be using free and open source, and also no-cost, tools to copy your drive data, byte by byte, from one drive to another. In other words, the copy technique doesn't even read files, as it doesn't know what files are, so it doesn't care what file structure or format you have. It just reads bytes. I'm pretty excited that such great free tools exist. No need to buy Acronis, just do this.

How to clone your hard drive:

1. Buy an external hard drive USB enclosure. Ex: Sabrent Ultra Slim USB 3.0 to 2.5-Inch SATA External Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure [Black] (EC-UK30) ($8.99).

2. Buy a nice new SSD. Ex: Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD. Place the 860 EVO into the enclosure and plug it in.

3. Make a bootable USB flash drive containing Linux Ubuntu 16.04, or whatever the latest LTS (Long-Term Support) version is at the time.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

10-Second $10 Upgrade to Triple Your Raspberry Pi 3 Network Speed


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By Gabriel Staples
Written: 20 Jan. 2018
Last Updated: 20 Jan. 2018

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Buy one of these USB to Gigabit Ethernet adapters for $10, plug it in to your Raspberry Pi 3 and voilá! Your new Pi 3 Ethernet connection is now 3x faster than the built-in Ethernet port and 12x faster than the built-in WiFi adapter (source: see my test results below)!

This really matters when you're using your Pi 3 as a network device, server, router, hotspot, NAS, or remote development machine. Pretty much it really matters whenever you want it to work better on your local or wide area network, which includes ssh-ing or otherwise remoting into it.


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Sunday, December 31, 2017

WowGo 2 Electric Skateboard


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Written: 30 Dec. 2017
Last Updated: 30 Dec. 2016

The WowGo Electric Skateboard is one of the greatest products I've ever had the privilege of owning. It's a thrill to ride, so much fun, and practical too! I've owned it now for 2 months and have probably already put close to 150 or 200 miles on it. When riding downhill at 22+mph, carving back and forth, I actually get the same sensation I feel when snowboarding--except in this case I can do it right outside my house in my local neighborhood, and all-year-round!

I recently moved to a big city and I have been using my WowGo electric skateboard for the last month to ride to and from the subway station to get to work each day. I also use it for city commuting down-town. The ride to the subway station is just over 3 miles but I can complete it in 9~15 minutes, depending on traffic lights.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Which Programming Language Should I Learn?


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Investing time into learning a first (or new) programming language is a seriously-time-consuming endeavor. For me it wasn't something to take lightly, as I knew I'd be investing thousands of hours into any given single language when I began. When people ask which programming languages they should learn or use, a great way to make recommendations is to consider these 3 things:
  1. Popularity
  2. Is it a scripted (interpreted) or compiled language, and how does that affect what I want to do with it?
  3. Which languages are most used in my industry or application?

1) Consider the popularity of languages. The more popular the language, the higher the priority it should be, within reason, since that's what industry uses and that's where you're going to find the most resources, help and support, compatibility with others, and jobs. The TIOBE index is the place to check:
"TIOBE programming community index is a measure of popularity of programming languages, created and maintained by the TIOBE Company based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.[1] TIOBE stands for 'The Importance of Being Earnest' which is taken from the name of a comedy play written by Oscar Wilde at the end of the nineteenth century.[2]" (

Here's the index for 2017: As shown above, the top 6, in this order, are:
  1. Java
  2. C
  3. C++
  4. C#
  5. Python, and 
  6. JavaScript. 
My top 3 recommendations are Java, C++, and Python, but not necessarily in that order. When it comes to you and your personal needs, goals, and desires, however, you need to choose for yourself! Here's some tips to help you make that decision.

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Arduino sine wave siren code using a lookup table in flash memory (PROGMEM)


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By Gabriel Staples
Posted: 30 Sept. 2017
Last Updated: 30 Sept. 2017

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(*Articles containing or linking to source code are marked with an asterisk)
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